Welcome to the last reading list of 2023. There are a few articles from people who have been featured here before, as well as some new voices with insightful perspectives. Let’s go!
It’s always a privilege to get insight into experiences you don’t share. That’s why I really enjoyed this interview with Kamille Richardson, where she talks about how her mother taught her to live, among other things:
“She let me go outside and play. I climbed trees with my sister. I got dirty. I did all the typical child things. She had me ordering my own food at restaurants—she taught me how to use my voice from a very early age.
And she challenged me to step outside my comfort zone. She even insisted I join the track team when I was in high school. I mean, the track team. I was not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination.”
Of all the writers I’ve met since starting to write about racism in the last nearly four years now, Rebecca’s is one of the voice that most resonates with me. Here’s her take on figuring out who’s not racist:
“You immediately feel like the person considers you as their equal. They don’t try to act as though they are superior to you. They are not patronizing or condescending. They don’t infantilize you either. They don’t say stuff like, “You’re not like other Black people”. They are respectful and don’t speak over you. You feel that they are actively listening to you when you engage with them.”
I first saw Walter’s work on Medium and was intrigued by his willingness to go beyond the surface in living anti-racism. This quote shows how people can move beyond the initial reactiveness to open the door to learning and growth:
“I think there’s value in acknowledging that I respond to criticism just like any other white man. A whole array of potential responses is laid out before me like a stretch of highway with multiple exits. One exit says “rage,” another says, “denial,” another says “self-pity.” In fact, there are nothing but bad options for miles and miles.
The difference between me and most other white men is that I don’t take the first exits, instead, I keep driving. I know those exits aren’t for me because I’ve taken them in the past and I know from experience they lead nowhere.”
Since it was published, this article has been much shared. I still wanted to include it here as it includes good lessons for exhausted activists, including this gem about bad faith arguments:
“But they don’t want to understand and they don’t actually want their questions answered. They want to take up your time. They want you bogged down in debate. They want you to believe that you have to win them over in order for your fight for liberation to be valid. They don’t care about you. They don’t care about learning. They want to take you out of this fight. Don’t let them.”
“What you may perceive as individuals being rude, is not always the case. And since I’ve been Black all my life, I know the difference. I carry the pain of having to make lite of a situation with my children so they can bear the pain and still carry themselves with dignity. The inhumanity of not being seen or acknowledged because of the bias assumption that “you don’t have any money” or “you’re going to steal something” or “I’m not going to waste my time with them.” All those insinuations are heard loud and clear by those to whom they are hurled. Yet, These same situations get dismissed by White people as “you’re being to sensitive” or “I’m sure that’s not what they meant to do/say” or “That happens to me too.””
Update: looks like Diversity Dish has gone down since I compiled this - sorry about that!
Yeah, it’s another “water is wet” moment, because nobody who’s paying attention is surprised by this. Here’s what Trades Union Congress general secretary Paul Nowak says:
“The significant and disproportionate concentration of BME workers on zero-hours contracts points firmly to the structural racism in our jobs market. It’s time to tackle the discrimination that holds BME workers back once and for all – and ensure that everyone has access to a decent, secure job.”
I always wonder about these happiness indexes. Am I the only one who finds it a bit suspicious that former colonisers are among the happiest countries? And is everyone happy? This author sheds some light on the situation:
“Beneath the glossy social veneer of idealism and utopia lies a lot of resentment, deep pain, unexpressed desires, and repressed trauma from trying to integrate versus assimilate. Integration means I accept all parts of my blended identity, including my new additional culture, Swedish. Assimilation means identifying only with your host country’s culture and letting go of your heritage. And assimilation is an impossible thing to ask of anyone. It’s one thing embracing cultural traditions such as Midsummer and learning the language to integrate better, but it’s another to feel like I have to be less Nigerian in order to be fully Swedish.”
Without equality, everyone loses. In this article, Dr. Janice show how the cult of whiteness harms everyone, and how it underpins capitalism. It’s sobering reading.
“I’ve often heard the saying that if you pass away your job will be posted faster than your obituary. White dominant culture needs and feeds off of our production. This is what drives the capitalist system that is part of white dominant culture. Within a capitalist system, there must always be a marginalized and oppressed class to dominate. White folks are not immune to being part of this oppressed and marginalized class of people.”
If the title link is broken, the piece is also on Medium.
As co-founder of Mission Equality, I perk up when I see someone talking about equality. I thought this article offered some valuable food for thought.
“The journey to equality is simple, but it’s never easy. All who embark upon it, whether they’re aware or not, follow the same principle much like a north star whencharting a course. This premise enables a person to understand that the humanity they see in someone else is identical to that which resides within themselves, and thus changes the “other” to a brother or sister. As siblings of equal standing, our brother/sister is deserving of no less than the full range of rights, benefits, and privileges afforded to us.”
I’m ending this month’s compilation as I started it, with an article on another issue where there’s stuff for me to learn and think about:
“It’s hard, too, not to tie all of this back to the gravity of our existence. We’re the most incarcerated and under-employed racial, ethnic or gender group. We also have the lowest life expectancy and are targeted by police at the highest rates. To say nothing of how our mere existence invokes feelings of rage and fear. As a result, we’re constantly walking a line between not being threatening and preserving a sense of our manhood.”
So, which article resonated with you most this month, and what action will you personally take as a result. Please comment and let me know!
Enjoyed this article? Feel free to share to help others discover it. Thank you!
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2023. All Rights Reserved.
Cover photo courtesy of Canva.